Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Trump says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members agreed to meet spending commitments

Trump says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members agreed to meet spending commitments

The Reuters sources said Mr. Trump did not go as far as to threaten to pull the United States out of the transatlantic defense alliance - as some European organizations reported - but officials told the Associated Press that his demands for increased national defense spending were enough to prompt North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials to declare an emergency session in Brussels on Thursday.

After a week in which he had insulted allies and questioned the value of NATO, Trump-flanked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton-gave an impromptu news conference at NATO headquarters Thursday morning before leaving Brussels.

In remarks later during the summit, however, President Trump increased pressure on allies over burden sharing, calling on allies to double defense spending targets to 4 percent, the White House confirmed.

On both matters, Republican senators said they agreed with Trump's message. I mean, it's one of those things.

The summit in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance's most hard in years, against a backdrop of deepening transatlantic tensions in fields ranging from trade to energy and defence.

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Trump will meet the Russian leader in Helsinki on 16 July for their first summit amid an ongoing investigation in the USA into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

Trump upped the ante during the Brussels summit, demanding that member states increase spending from 2 percent to 4 percent.

"I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're supposed to be guarding against Russia, " Trump said, referring to the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline. "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany", he said.

European Union figures show Russian Federation may be responsible for between 50 percent and 75 percent of Germany's gas imports, but gas makes up less than 20 percent of Germany's power production mix.

"They're propagandists. When I read what the Russian press said that transpired in those meetings, I don't know why - I don't believe them when they say they weren't involved in meddling in US elections", Moran said.

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The allies also expressed concern about Iran's intensified missile tests and said the alliance was committed "to permanently ensuring that Iran's nuclear programme remains peaceful".

"Many countries are not paying what they should", Trump said, seated across from a visibly rattled Stoltenberg.

Others in the room, including the Lithuanian president whose country is among the most nervous of Russian ambitions, denied a suggestion that Trump had threatened to quit the alliance.

Trump said he let countries know during this week's summit that he was "extremely unhappy".

Leaders will be keen to hear more about Trump's military approach to Afghanistan, which he revamped last August to include a surge in air strikes to force Taliban militants to the negotiating table.

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Diplomats were already anxious about the summit ahead of time, not least because of an abrasive G7 meeting last month, when Mr Trump renounced a summit communique that had previously been jointly agreed.

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